Summer afternoons on the Harbour - they can be one like the other: the seabreeze comes in around noon, blows north-east all afternoon and then slowly gives way to a land breeze. For generations now clubs have timed their races to catch the afternoon northeasterly.
And north-easterly is what we had today, 10-15 knots with gusts near 20. Corinna and Chenonceau with reefs in their mains.
Four boats presented; Blue Moon took the stronger winds in her stride and sped around the course, to a long win. At 38ft, her hull speed rewards good sailing and she seemed entirely at ease. Corinna sailed as high as Blue Moon and led the small boats around all the marks. Time & Tide and Chenonceau had a good race. T&T led at the first mark; then Chenonceau at the second - steaming over the top of us on a shy reach. We traded places to the top mark; neither of us enough experienced hands to fly our kites, and we goose-winged home, the 18 footers hissing past us as they gybed down the stiff breeze. But we couldn’t catch Corinna. After the finish, the wind blew us all south to our moorings, and had the 18 footers scrambling to avoid mishap as they approached the beach.
But, it wasn’t a regular seabreeze. From a high off the south-east coast of Queensland, air was flowing into troughs which extended from NSW to Tasmania. Late, late in the afternoon - mercifully after our fleet and the 18 footers were home and secure, a hailstorm broke over Sydney, with winds up to 30 knots, stinging hail and blinding rain. It rattled loudly only local roofs, and would have upset any yacht unprepared. It swung later to a dry south-westerly, which is still blowing. This was one of a string of storms reported from Sydney to Melbourne. Not a typical afternoon at all.
On shore, the 18 footers fleet, unrigging, added to the local scene; it was the day of the Double Bay Market festival and the market was still going. Ferries and water taxis came and went. The storm was still to come.
Across the line
- Blue Moon
- Time & Tide
We sail next on December 6. I look forward to seeing you again then.
And again, thanks to John V for the start and the mark.